VOTE: Fire service facing cuts

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Firecrews could go part time and controversial fire engines replaced under plans for the future of South Yorkshire fire service.

Proposals put forward by fire chiefs would see the second fire engines at Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley fire stations manned at night by firefighters working on an on-call basis.

And plans have also been revealed to get rid of so-called CARP - combined aerial rescue pump - fire engines which have been unpopular with crews and originally had to be returned to their manufacturers after they were brought in by fire chiefs, because they were too heavy for the roads.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service needs to save £12 million by 2017.The moves could spell the loss of firefighters’ jobs - but it is understood job losses would be through staff taking retirement before 2017, rather than redundancies.

Chief fire officer James Courtney said proposed cuts ‘protect the frontline’.He said: “Losing £12m, or 20 per cent of our funding, has forced us to reconsider our entire frontline provision, but we feel we can state now that we do not plan to remove any further fire stations or rescue pumps in the lifetime of this plan, subject to the further cuts being of the levels we expect.

“We are committed to keeping as many stations open as possible, to protect the speed of our initial response to incidents.”

But Graham Wilkinson, chairman of the Fire Brigades Union in South Yorkshire, said: “Taxpayers are going to be paying more council tax for a poorer service. My biggest concern is about the safety of the public.”

It also proposed to replace South Yorkshire’s CARP - combined aerial rescue pump - appliances with separate rescue pumps and dedicated aerial appliances.

Mr Courtney said the brigade will continue reporting performance against its response time target of six minutes, despite previously suggesting it could be scrapped - to ‘provide a clear indicator as to how Government cuts are affecting service’.

* Are South Yorkshire Fire Service cash cuts justified? Vote in our web poll on the right of this page.